How Species Interact with Each Other

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1 SECTION 2 How Species Interact with Each Other What s the difference between lions in a zoo and lions in the wild? In the wild, lions are part of a community and a food web. In the African savanna, lions hunt zebras, fight with hyenas, and are fed upon by fleas and ticks. Interactions like these were part of the evolution of the lions that you see in zoos. Any species is best understood by looking at all of the relationships the species has within its native communities. An Organism s Niche The unique role of a species within an ecosystem is its niche (NICH). A niche includes the species physical home, the environmental factors necessary for the species survival, and all of the species interactions with other organisms. A niche is different from a habitat. An organism s habitat is a location. However, a niche is an organism s pattern of use of its habitat. A niche can also be thought of as the functional role, or job, of a particular species in an ecosystem. For example, American bison occupied the niche of large grazing herbivores on American grasslands. Kangaroos occupy a similar niche on Australian grasslands. Herbivores often interact with carnivores, such as lions, if they both exist in the same habitat. Some parts of a lion s niche are shown in Figure 9. Objectives Explain the difference between niche and habitat. Give examples of parts of a niche. Describe the five major types of interactions between species. Explain the difference between parasitism and predation. Explain how symbiotic relationships may evolve. Key Terms niche competition predation parasitism mutualism commensalism symbiosis Figure 9 Parts of a lion s niche are shown here. Can you think of other parts? Section 2 How Species Interact with Each Other 203

2 COMMENSALISM Wren makes nest without affecting cactus Types of Interactions Between Two Species Interaction Species A Species B Description Competition harmed harmed Each species negatively affects the other. Predation and benefited harmed Species A feeds on species B. parasitism Mutualism benefited benefited Each species is helpful to the other. Commensalism benefited unaffected Species A benefits from species B, but B is unaffected. COMPETITION Fox and coyote are predators of same prey MUTUALISM Yucca moth pollinates and lays eggs on yucca flowers; moth larvae spread yucca seeds PREDATION Kit fox hunts and feeds on kangaroo rat Figure 10 Species Interactions FIELD ACTIVITY Observing Competition You can study competition between bird species at home or at school. Build a bird feeder using a plastic milk jug, a metal pie pan, or some other inexpensive material. Fill the feeder with unsalted bread crumbs, sunflower seeds, or commercial birdseed. Observe the birds that visit the feeder. Sit quietly in the same spot, and make observations at the same time each day for several days in a row. In your EcoLog, keep a record that includes data about the kinds of birds that use the feeder, the kinds of seeds that the birds prefer, the factors that affect how much the birds eat, and the kinds of birds that are better competitors for the birdseed. 204 Chapter 8 Understanding Populations Ways in Which Species Interact Interactions between species are categorized at the level where one population interacts with another. The five major types of species interactions, summarized in Figure 10, are competition, predation, parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism. These categories are based on whether each species causes benefit or harm to the other species in a given relationship. Keep in mind that the benefit or harm is in terms of total effects over time. Also note that other types of interaction are possible. Many interactions between species are indirect, and some interactions do not fit a category clearly. Other types of interactions seem possible but are rarely found. Therefore, many interactions are neither categorized nor well studied. Competition For most organisms, competition is part of daily life. Seed-eating birds compete with each other for seed at a bird feeder, and weeds compete for space in a sidewalk crack. Competition is a relationship in which different individuals or populations attempt to use the same limited resource. Each individual has less access to the resource and so is harmed by the competition. Competition can occur both within and between species. We have learned that members of the same species must compete with each other because they require the same resources they occupy the same niche. When members of different species compete, we say that their niches overlap, which means that each species uses some of the same resources in a habitat.

3 Indirect Competition Species can compete even if they never come into direct contact with each other. Suppose that one insect species feeds on a certain plant during the day and that another species feeds on the same plant during the night. Because they use the same food source, the two species are indirect competitors. Similarly, two plant species that flower at the same time may compete for the same pollinators even if the plants do not compete in any other way. Humans rarely interact with the insects that eat our food crops, but those insects are still competing with us for food. Adaptations to Competition When two species with similar niches are placed together in the same ecosystem, we might expect one species to be more successful than the other species. The betteradapted species would be able to use more of the niche. But in the course of evolution, adaptations that decrease competition will also be advantageous for species whose niches overlap. One way competition can be reduced between species is by dividing up the niche in time or space. Niche restriction is when each species uses less of the niche than they are capable of using. Niche restriction is observed in closely related species that use the same resources within a habitat. For example, two similar barnacle species compete for space in the intertidal zone of rocky shorelines. One of the species, Chthamalus stellatus, is found only in the upper level of the zone when the other species is present. But when the other species is removed from the area, C. stellatus is found at deeper levels, as shown in Figure 11. In the presence of competition, the actual niche used by a species may be smaller than the potential niche. Ecologists have observed various other ways of dividing up a niche among groups of similar species. Ecofact A Wide Niche Coyotes live in a wide range of habitats and are willing to get close to human settlements. Coyotes are also known to eat a wide variety of animals and plants, including food that humans throw away. Thus, coyotes have a broad and varied niche. Coyotes take advantage of those parts of their niche that are easiest to use and that present less competition. HIGH TIDE Chthamalus niche size when competition is present Chthamalus stellatus Semibalanus balanoides Figure 11 The barnacle species Chthamalus stellatus uses less of its potential niche when competing for space with a similar barnacle species, Semibalanus balanoides. Chthamalus niche size when competition is absent LOW TIDE Section 2 How Species Interact with Each Other 205

4 Figure 12 This predatory bird had to outrun its prey. Many organisms are adapted to avoid predation. Predation An organism that feeds on another organism is called a predator, and the organism that is fed upon is the prey. This kind of interaction is called predation. Examples of predation include snakes eating mice, bats eating insects, or whales consuming krill. Figure 12 shows a predatory bird with its captured prey. Predation is not as simple to understand as it seems. We may think of predators as meat-eating animals, but there can be less obvious kinds of predators. In complex food webs, a predator may also be the prey of another species. Most organisms have evolved some mechanisms to avoid or defend against predators. Some predators eat only specific types of prey. For example, the Canadian lynx feeds mostly on snowshoe hares during the winter. In this kind of Predator-Prey Adaptations Most organisms are vulnerable to predation, so there is strong selective pressure for adaptations that serve as defenses against predators. Many animals are camouflaged disguised so that they are hard to see even when they are in view. Visual camouflage is very obvious to us, because vision is the dominant sense in humans. Many predators also have keen vision. An animal s camouflage usually disguises its recognizable features. The eyes are the most recognizable part of the animal, and hundreds of species have black stripes across their eyes for disguise. Dark bands of color, such as those on many snakes, may also break up the apparent bulk of the animal s body. Some predators do not chase their prey but wait for the prey to come near enough to be caught. Praying mantises and frogs are examples of these types of predators. Such predators are usually camouflaged so that the prey does not notice them waiting to attack. Animals, and more often plants, may contain toxic chemicals that harm or deter predators. Many animals that have chemical defenses have a striking coloration. This warning coloration alerts potential predators to stay away and protects the prey species from damage. Patterns with black stripes and red, orange, or yellow are common in many species of bees, wasps, skunks, snakes, and poisonous frogs. Warning coloration works well against predators that can learn and that have good vision. Patterns of black and red, orange, or yellow are common warning signs. During the course of evolution, members of several well-protected species have come to resemble each other. For example, both bees and wasps often have black and yellow stripes. This is an example of mimicry of one species by another. The advantage of mimicry is that the more individual organisms that have the same pattern, the less chance any one individual has of being killed. Also, predators learn to avoid all animals that have similar warning patterns. 206 Chapter 8 Understanding Populations

5 Population (in thousands) 160 Snowshoe hare 120 Lynx Year Figure 13 Populations of predators depend on populations of prey, so changes in one of these populations may be linked to changes in the other. This graph shows population estimates over time for Canadian lynx and their favorite food, snowshoe hares. close relationship, the sizes of each population tend to increase and decrease in linked patterns, as shown in Figure 13. However, many predators will feed on whichever type of prey is easiest to capture. Both predators and prey may exhibit adaptations such as camouflage or mimicry. The spider that looks like an ant (left) is a predator of insects. The protective quills of this porcupine (right) are a simple but effective way to repel predators. Occasionally, a harmless species is a mimic of a species that has chemical protection. You have probably tried to get away from insects that you thought were wasps or bees. In fact, some of them were probably flies. Several species of harmless insects have evolved to mimic wasps and bees. On the other hand, sometimes a predator may look like another, less threatening species. Some species of spiders may be mistaken for ants or other types of insects. A simple defense against predation is some type of protective covering. The quills of a porcupine, the spines of a cactus, and the shell of a turtle are all examples of protective covering. CRITICAL THINKING 1. Making Comparisons For each of these types of adaptations, give an additional example that you have seen or heard of. 2. Determining Cause and Effect Write a paragraph to explain how one of these adaptations might have evolved. WRITING SKILLS Section 2 How Species Interact with Each Other 207

6 Figure 14 Parasites such as ticks (left) and intestinal worms (right) could be harmful to you. You probably try to avoid these parasites, almost as if they were predators. In what ways are parasites like predators? Figure 15 These acacia trees in Central America have a mutualistic relationship with these ants. The trees provide food and shelter to the ants, and the ants defend the tree. Parasitism An organism that lives in or on another organism and feeds on the other organism is a parasite. The organism the parasite takes its nourishment from is known as the host. The relationship between the parasite and its host is called parasitism. Examples of parasites are ticks, fleas, tapeworms, heartworms, bloodsucking leeches, and mistletoe. The photos of parasites in Figure 14 may make you feel uneasy, because parasites are somewhat like predators. The differences between a parasite and a predator are that a parasite spends some of its life in or on the host, and that parasites do not usually kill their hosts. In fact, the parasite has an evolutionary advantage if it allows its host to live longer. However, the host is often weakened or exposed to disease by the parasite. Mutualism Many species depend on another species for survival. In some cases, neither organism can survive alone. A close relationship between two species in which each species provides a benefit to the other is called mutualism. Certain species of bacteria in your intestines form a mutualistic relationship with you. These bacteria help break down food that you could not otherwise digest or produce vitamins that your body cannot make. In return, you give the bacteria a warm, food-rich habitat. Another case of mutualism happens in the ant acacia trees of Central America, shown in Figure 15. Most acacia trees have spines that protect them against plant-eating animals, but the ant acacias have an additional protection an ant species that lives only on these trees. The trees provide these ants shelter within hollow thorns as well as food sources in sugary nectar glands and nutrient-rich leaf tips. In turn, the ants defend the tree against herbivores and many other threats. 208 Chapter 8 Understanding Populations

7 Figure 16 Remoras have a commensal relationship with sharks. Remoras attach themselves to sharks in order to eat scraps from the sharks meals, or to hitch a ride elsewhere. The remoras cause neither benefit nor harm to the sharks. There are many examples of freeloaders and scavengers in nature. Connection to Biology Commensalism A relationship in which one species benefits and the other species is neither harmed nor helped is called commensalism. An example is the relationship between sharks and a type of fish called remoras, which are shown in Figure 16. Remoras attach themselves to sharks and feed on scraps of food left over from the shark s meals. Another example of commensalism is when birds nest in trees, but only if the birds do not cause any harm to the tree. Even a seemingly harmless activity might have an effect on another species. Symbiosis and Coevolution A relationship in which two organisms live in close association is called symbiosis. Many types of species interactions are considered symbiotic in some cases. Symbiosis is most often used to describe a relationship in which at least one species benefits. Over time, species in close relationships may coevolve. These species may evolve adaptations that reduce the harm or improve the benefit of the relationship. Recall that harm and benefit are measured in total effects over time. For example, coevolution can be seen in the relationships of flowering plants and their pollinators. Many types of flowers seem to match the feeding habits of certain species of insects or other animals that spread pollen. An Ecosystem in Your Body Our health is affected by our relationships with microorganisms in our digestive system, skin, blood, and other parts of our body. For example, live-culture yogurt is considered a healthy food because the kinds of bacteria it contains are beneficial to us. The bacteria assist our digestion of dairy products and also compete with other microorganisms, such as yeast, that might cause infections. Topic: Coevolution SciLinks code: HE4014 SECTION 2 Review 1. List as many parts as you can of the niche of an organism of your choice. 2. Give examples of species that have the same habitat but not the same niche that a lion has. 3. Describe the five types of species interactions. CRITICAL THINKING 4. Making Comparisons Read the definition of parasites and predators, and then explain how parasites differ from predators. READING SKILLS 5. Analyzing Relationships Choose an example of mutualism, and then describe the long process by which the relationship could have developed. Section 2 How Species Interact with Each Other 209

8 CHAPTER 8 Highlights 1 How Populations Change in Size Key Terms population, 197 density, 198 dispersion, 198 growth rate, 198 reproductive potential, 199 exponential growth, 199 carrying capacity, 200 Main Ideas Each population has specific properties, including size, density, and pattern of dispersion. Each population has a characteristic reproductive potential. This is the fastest possible growth rate of the population. When a population has few limits to its growth, it may have an exponential growth rate. Usually, population growth is limited by factors such as disease and competition. Carrying capacity is the maximum population a habitat can support over time. A population that grows rapidly may be subject to density-dependent regulation. 2 How Species Interact with Each Other niche, 203 competition, 204 predation, 206 parasitism, 208 mutualism, 208 commensalism, 209 symbiosis, 209 The niche of an organism is its pattern of use of its habitat and its interactions with other organisms. Interactions between species are categorized based on the relative benefit or harm that one species causes the other. The categories are competition, predation, parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism. Competition between species occurs when their niches overlap. The competition may be direct or indirect. Pairs of species that have close relationships often evolve adaptations that either increase the benefit of or reduce the harm from the relationship. 210 Chapter 8 Highlights

9 CHAPTER 8 Review Using Key Terms Use each of the following terms in a separate sentence. 1. reproductive potential 2. carrying capacity 3. competition 4. symbiosis For each pair of terms, explain how the meanings of the terms differ. 5. niche and habitat 6. predator and prey 7. predation and parasitism 8. mutualism and commensalism STUDY TIP Review with a Partner To review the main ideas of the text, try summarizing with a partner. Take turns reading a passage, and then try to summarize aloud what you have read. Try not to look back at the text. Then, discuss and review the text with your partner to check your understanding. Understanding Key Ideas 9. In which of the following pairs do both organisms belong to the same population? a. a rose and a carnation b. a zebra and a horse c. two residents of New York City d. two similar species of monkeys 10. A population of some species is most likely to grow exponentially a. if the species is already very common in the area. b. when the species moves into a new area of suitable habitat. c. when it uses the same habitat as a similar species. d. if the population size is already large. 11. A population will most likely deplete the resources of its environment if the population a. grows beyond carrying capacity. b. must share resources with many other species. c. moves frequently from one habitat to another. d. has a low reproductive potential. 12. The growth rate of a population of geese will probably increase within a year if a. more birds die than are hatched. b. several females begin laying eggs at younger ages than their mothers did. c. most females lay two eggs instead of three during a nesting season. d. some birds get lost during migration. 13. Which of the following is an example of competition between species? a. two species of insects feeding on the same rare plant b. a bobcat hunting a mouse c. a lichen, which is an alga and a fungus living as a single organism d. a tick living on a dog 14. Which of the following statements about parasitism is true? a. The presence of a parasite does not affect the host. b. Parasitism is a cooperative relationship between two species. c. Parasites always kill their hosts. d. Parasitism is similar to predation. 15. Ants and acacia trees have a mutualistic relationship because a. they are both adapted to a humid climate. b. they are part of the same ecosystem. c. they benefit each other. d. the ants eat parts of the acacia tree. 16. Which of the following is an example of coevolution? a. flowers that can be pollinated by only one species of insect b. rabbits that invade a new habitat c. wolves that compete with each other for territory d. bacteria that suddenly mutate in a lab Chapter 8 Review 211

10 CHAPTER 8 Review Short Answer 17. A tapeworm lives in the intestines of a cow and feeds by absorbing food that the cow is digesting. What kind of relationship is this? Explain your answer. 18. Explain how two species can compete for the same resource even if they never come in contact with each other. 19. Snail kites are predatory birds that feed only on snails. The kites use their hooked, needlelike beaks to pull snails from their shells. Explain how these specialized beaks might have evolved in these birds. 20. What would happen to the population of snail kites mentioned in question 19 if the snails habitat was destroyed? Explain your answer. Interpreting Graphics The graph below shows the population of some reindeer that were introduced to an Alaskan island in Use the graph to answer questions Describe this population s changes over time. 22. What might have happened in 1937? 23. How would you estimate this island s carrying capacity for reindeer? Explain your answer. Number of individuals 2,000 1,500 1, Year Concept Mapping 24. Use the following terms to create a concept map: symbiosis, predation, predator, prey, parasitism, parasite, host, mutualism, and commensalism. Critical Thinking 25. Analyzing Relationships Read the explanations of competition and predation. If one species becomes extinct, and then soon after, another species becomes extinct, was their relationship most likely competition or predation? Explain your answer. READING SKILLS 26. Evaluating Hypotheses Scientists do not all agree on the specific carrying capacity of Earth for humans. Why might this carrying capacity be difficult to determine? 27. Evaluating Conclusions A scientist finds no evidence that any of the species in a particular community are competing and concludes that competition never played a role in the development of this community. Could this conclusion be valid? Write a paragraph to explain your answer. WRITING SKILLS Cross-Disciplinary Connection 28. Health Viruses are the cause of many infectious diseases, such as common colds, flu, and chickenpox. Viruses can be passed from one person to another in many different ways. Under what conditions do you think viral diseases will spread most rapidly between humans? What can be done to slow the spread of these viruses? Portfolio Project??? 29. Create a Niche Map Create a visual representation of the niche of an organism of your choice. Research the organism s habitat, behaviors, and interactions with other species. If possible, observe the organism (without disturbing it) for a day or more. Create a piece of art to show all of the interactions that this organism has with its environment. 212 Chapter 8 Review

11 MATH SKILLS Use the equation below to answer questions Extending an Equation The equation gives the change in a population over a given amount of time (for example, an increase of 100 individuals in one year). Use the two parts on the right side of the equation to write an inequality that would be true if the population were increasing. Rewrite the inequality for a decreasing population. 31. Analyzing an Equation Suppose you are studying the small town of Hill City, which had a population of 100 people in the first year of your study. One year later, 10 people have died, and only 9 mothers have given birth. Yet the population has increased to 101. How could this increase happen? WRITING SKILLS 32. Communicating Main Ideas Why do population sizes not grow indefinitely? 33. Creative Writing Write a science fiction story about life without competition. 34. Writing from Research Find information in encyclopedias or natural history references about different kinds of mutualism. Summarize the similarities and differences between the various relationships. Focus on the ways in which each species benefits from the other species. READING FOLLOW-UP Now that you have read the chapter, take a moment to review your answers to the Reading Warm-Up questions in your EcoLog. If necessary, revise your answers. Read the passage below, and then answer the questions that follow. Excerpt from Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, I should premise that I use the term struggle for existence in a large and metaphorical sense, including dependence of one being on another, and including (which is more important) not only the life of the individual, but success in leaving progeny. Two canine animals in a time of dearth, may truly be said to struggle with each other which shall get food and live. But a plant of the edge of the desert is said to struggle for life against the drought, though more properly it should be said to be dependent on the moisture. A plant which annually produces a thousand seeds, of which on average only one comes to maturity, may more truly be said to struggle with the plants of the same and other kinds which already clothe the ground... In these several senses, which pass into each other, I use for convenience sake the general term of struggle for existence. 1. Which of the following statements best describes the author s main purpose in this passage? a. to describe the process of reproduction b. to persuade the reader that all animals struggle for existence c. to explain the meaning of the author s use of the phrase struggle for existence d. to argue that life in the desert depends on moisture 2. Which of the following statements most closely matches what the author means by the phrase struggle for existence? a. whenever plants or animals interact in nature b. whenever plants or animals compete to survive and to produce offspring c. when plants produce many more seeds than are likely to grow d. when animals compete for food during difficult times Chapter 8 Review 213

12 WHERE SHOULD THE WOLVES ROAM? The gray wolf was exterminated from much of the northwestern United States by the 1920s. Ranchers and federal agents killed the animal to protect livestock. The Rocky Mountain gray wolf was listed as an endangered species in Then in the 1980s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a plan to restore wolf populations in the United States. The agency decided to reintroduce wolves into certain areas. Biologists looked for areas where wolves could have large habitats and enough food. Three areas were chosen, as shown in the figure below. Between 1995 and 1996, 64 wolves were released in Yellowstone National Park and 34 wolves were released in central Idaho. The original goal was to have breeding populations of at least 100 wolves in each location by This goal has now become reality. The wolf reintroduction efforts remain controversial. Some people would prefer that the wolves become extinct. On the other side, some people think that the government has not done enough to protect wolf populations. Read the following points of view, and then analyze the issue for yourself. Wolves Should Not Be Reintroduced Some opponents of the reintroduction plan argue that wolves are not truly endangered. Biologists estimate that hundreds of wolves live in Minnesota, and thousands live in Alaska and Canada. Because there are large numbers of wolves in the wild, some people feel that wolves should not receive special treatment as endangered species. Many hunters also oppose the plan to reintroduce wolves. Both hunters and wolves hunt for large game animals such as deer, elk, or moose. Hunters believe the wolves might create too much competition for the game animals. Some studies suggest that populations of game animals will decrease if hunted by both humans and wolves. A wild wolf is a now rare sight in most of the United States. Efforts to reintroduce and protect wolf populations are controversial. Hunters point out that hunting is an important part of the economies of the western states. Also, licensed hunting has become part of the way large parks and wildlife preserves are managed. Hunting is sometimes allowed by park and game managers to control wildlife populations. Hunting fees also help fund wildlife management efforts, such as habitat improvement and biological studies. Ranchers are among the people who most strongly oppose wolf reintroduction. Ranchers worry that wolves will kill their livestock. Ranchers argue that they cannot afford to lose their livestock. Even though there is a program to pay ranchers for lost livestock, the program will last The breeding range of the gray wolf (far left) has been lost in most of the United States. The U.S. government has reintroduced wolves into parts of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho (left). 216 Chapter 8 Points of View

13 only as long as wolves are classified as an endangered species. When there are many wolves again in the target areas, the wolf will no longer have endangered status. Ranchers point out that the payment program will disappear when it would be needed most. Other groups that oppose wolf reintroduction include groups that use public lands for activities such as logging or mining. These groups worry that protection for the wolves may lead to the prevention of other uses of land in the target areas. Wolves Should Be Reintroduced A basic argument in favor of wolf reintroduction is that the federal government must uphold the law by trying to restore wolf populations in the United States. But supporters of wild wolves give other reasons too. Many environmentalists and scientists believe that the reintroduction plan could restore a balance to the Yellowstone ecosystem. Predation by wolves would keep the herds of elk, moose, and deer from growing too dense and overgrazing the land. The argument that wolves help control wild herds is like the argument in favor of hunting. Some wolf supporters even say that licensed hunting of wolves should be allowed. In this way, hunters might support the reintroduction plans, and populations of both wolves and game animals could be managed. In response to ranchers concerns that wolves will attack their livestock, biologists say that this is not likely to be a problem. There The International Wolf Center in Minnesota tries to educate the public about wolves. The center s Wolves and Humans exhibit is shown here. is evidence that most wolves prefer to hunt wild animals rather than domestic animals. Wolves rarely attack livestock when large herds of wild game are nearby. In fact, from 1995 to 1997, fewer than five wolf attacks on livestock were reported in the United States. Still, some supporters of reintroduction have tried to address the concerns of ranchers. One group raised money to pay ranchers for livestock killed by wolves. Other groups conduct studies and educational programs or talk with local landowners. Most wolf supporters are trying to create reintroduction plans that will work for both humans and wolves. In response to fears that the wolves pose a danger to humans, supporters say this is also unlikely. There have been no verified attacks on humans by healthy wolves in North America. Wolf experts insist that wolves are shy animals that prefer to stay away from people. Most wolf supporters admit that there are only a few places where wolves may live without causing problems. Supporters of the plan believe that the target areas are places where wolves can carry out a natural role without causing problems for humans. What Do You Think? Like many plans to protect endangered species, the plan to reintroduce wolves causes some people to weigh their own interests against the needs of a single species. Do you feel that the decision is a simple one? Can you think of other ways to look at this issue? Explain your answers. Chapter 8 Points of View 217

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